Since moving away from Charleston, I have not had one day where the Lord hasn’t lovingly tapped me on the shoulder offering me another item to add to my “things to work on” list. I’m staying with a couple called Mandy and Joshua. The have not wasted any time in making incredible effort to befriend me. Not just on the level of how was your day, but to the point of who do you want to be?
This week, my church also began a corporate study on the book of John. I’m trying to read the Bible as more of a novel than a guide book, though I know it can be utilized as either. I think I often get lost in the idea that this is a book I’m supposed to read, rather than enjoying it as a collection of stories I want to read. People fall in love with stories because of the characters and the way the writers portray them. The Bible is exciting; I want to fall in love with it the same way.
Today I read through John 6. It opens with the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 gathered to hear him speak. In this scene, Jesus asks some of his disciples where they might get some bread to feed all of the people. One disciple, named Phillip had a response that I know I would have: Jesus, eight months wages wouldn’t be enough to feed all of these people. You’re crazy for even asking. No natural means will fix this situation we’re in.
Phillip looked at the situation and tried to find a way that he could work it out, forgetting he was in the presence of The Provider, himself. When he looked only at how he could accomplish it, the only outcome was discouragement. That discouragement only produced doubt.
I think Andrew saw it a little differently. He mentions to Jesus that there is a boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. In this moment, I’m sure he is still lost as to how these items could accomplish anything significant, but I believe Andrew was more open to seeing what crazy thing Jesus might do with the little. Even the smallest amount of faith can produce something incredible.
The story goes on and Jesus feeds all of the people. After lunch, they collect twelve baskets of leftovers. Phillip only saw what was possible in his own strength. Andrew couldn’t see the miracle in full, but he didn’t limit Jesus in what he could accomplish. When we have the tiniest bit of faith, trusting that Jesus can do anything with and through it, Jesus provides in excess. My thoughts are so limiting; resources in the hands of Jesus are limitless.
I’m the first person to look at my circumstances and doubt. I only see the part-time hours I can work. I see the situation I appear to be stuck in and think, God, there’s no way even eight month’s wages can get me out of this. But maybe if I looked at the situation more like Andrew and said, hey, I found this little bit to work with. I don’t really know how you can use it God, but do with it what you will, He indeed will do so.
Not only will he provide, but he will provide in excess.